Getting UK Visa can be a terrible affair, not only because of the crazy documentation requirement, but also on account of the way VFS treats the VISA applicants. However, it makes no sense to get agents get you your Visa not only because they charge about Rs. 1500 per person service charge, but also because you have to furnish all the documents/proof yourself anyway. Also, applying for and getting your own Visa is no rocket science.
1. The first step is to go to VFS Global’s website and check the locations where the applications have to be given. You have to go their yourself as its mandatory for anyone >5 yrs to have their fingerprints taken.
2. You will find a link to UK Border Agency website . There are several tabs here and I would strongly recommend that you go through the top 2 very very carefully and take printouts of all the relevant documentation and proofs required, as even lack of one document can cause your applications to e kept on hold – or worse still rejected.
i. Visa application fees and guides
ii. Applying for a UK visa
iii. Visa processing times
iv. Collecting your documents
v. If you have been issued a visa
vi. If you have been refused a visa
vii. Contact us
viii. VFS additional services
ix. Commonwealth & overseas territory visas
3. You can apply 3 months before your travel and note that they will take ATLEAST 15 days to issue Visa unless you apply on fast-track which will mean additional expense for you.
4. Documentation requirement and correctness is strict and you must be prepared. These are the ones you need to submit / show
i. Information about yourself
ii. Information about your finances and employment
iii. Details of your accommodation and travel within UK
iv. Information about your visit to the UK
MUST Check this link for all relevant proofs: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/out-of-country/visitors.pdf.
5. VFS Global needs to send all documents to the British High Commission so please take all originals. It’s completely safe … don’t worry about handing over your original Lease & License Agreements to show proof of your house property and income from it. Original Bank statements, IT Returns and a letter from Employer is required amongst other things
6. Visa charges are about GBP 80 per head and Indian equivalent changes (Rs. 6800 currently). Don’t bother to make a DD and just take enough cash, there is a bank counter inside who will issue you a DD immediately. Take 5 mins
Application/Entering data online takes a long time and you need to have all relevant information ready BEFORE you start entering the data – especially your previous travel/visa details to UK. A copy of this is to be taken along with the photos & documents to the VFS center. Make sure that the barcode is printed in the first page. In my case, the bar code didn’t show on the first page and I had to leave the queue to go and get another printout.
The VFS facility in Mumbai for UK Visa is PATHETIC. Be ready to stand in the queue on the pavement for at least 45 mins – 1 hr – there’s no shade, no seating arrangements. We did that with our 5 year old on a sunny morning in a polluted crossing. The way they treat Visa applicants is simply pathetic – and to think I was being treated that way in my own country!!! Am sure this is only true in India and other developing countries. Am curious to see if UK, US and other European embassies would treat their citizens or have their citizens treated the same way. Agree, illegal immigration is a problem but that does not mean you treat every citizen in such a demeaning manner? Ironic that the British PM comes to India and invites more Indians to visit UK. He should spend some time at these VFS centers and meet the VISA applicants to know how welcome we are made to feel BEFORE the travel.